Nothing touches off a heated debate like voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Today the Baseball Writers Association of America voted in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas as the newest members of the baseball Hall of Fame.
No sane person would ever argue the merits of the three newest inductees. All three, especially Maddux, boast a resume that is beyond reproach.
That leads us to the two biggest omissions; Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Both players possess some of the greatest career numbers in the history of the game. And both players are doomed to never be voted into the Hall of Fame.
Clemens was far and away the most dominant pitcher of my generation. Clemens won 354 games, had a staggering 4,672 strikeouts and won seven Cy Young awards.
Meanwhile Bonds all but obliterated the MLB record book. Bonds ended his career with 762 home-runs (1st all-time), 2,538 walks (1st all-time), a career OPS of 1.051 and seven MVP awards.
Now do I think both of them used performance enhancing drugs during their playing career? You bet your frozen polar vortex butt I do.
Do I care that they used PED’s during their career? Not at all.
Major League Baseball players are not role models. They are grown men willing to do whatever it takes to keep making money and help their team win.
Back in the day pitchers used spit balls to gain an advantage. Then players took amphetamines to get up for games. Then they corked their bat to hit more home-runs. You name the method of cheating and I guarantee you somebody in baseball has thought of it in order to gain a competitive edge.
When I was in high school I watched “The Natural” and imagined all my baseball heroes were men like Roy Hobbs. Then reality quickly set in as I realized that baseball players live by the age old credo, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”.
To make a long story short, if I had a vote for the Hall of Fame I would vote for Clemens and Bonds. So many players were taking some sort of PED during that era that it is next to impossible to sort out the clean players from the dirty players.
Ty Cobb once jumped into the stands and beat up a man with no hands and he was still voted into the Hall of Fame.
I don’t need a baseball writer to tell me about morality. I just want them to vote for the finest players on the ballot and make sure the Hall of Fame is filled with the best of the best.
Why is it alright for pitchers to scuff the ball, doctor the ball and throw spitballs?
Is that not cheating?
According to the rules of baseball it is:
The pitcher shall not –
(a) (1) Bring his pitching hand in contact with his mouth or lips while in the 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber. EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand.
PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule the umpires shall immediately call a ball. However, if the pitch is made and a batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a hit batsman or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation. Repeated offenders shall be subject to a fine by the league president.
(2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(3) rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;
(4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;
(5) deface the ball in any manner
Despite all of this pitchers did it often and still do it to this day.
Prior to 2003 players were not tested for PED’s. Not that doesn’t make it right. But by taking them they were not violating any MLB rules at the time.
A few things emerged from the steroid era. First off the numbers posted by players, especially hitters, were greatly inflated. Secondly the television ratings and attendance were greatly inflated. The boost in TV ratings results in a massive financial windfall for Bud Selig and MLB.
Not only is MLB raking in the money, but individual teams have signed enormous regional television contracts that will ensure their financial stability for years to come.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds played a big role in reviving baseball after their labour shut-down in 1994. If baseball writers want to punish Clemens and Bonds for taking PED’s (allegedly) then that is their right.
I just hope the writers understand that fans don’t care if a player cheats. In they end they all cheat in some way, shape or form. Fans only care if their team wins or loses.
The writers can choose to do what they want when it comes to Clemens and Bonds. The fact remains they put up numbers that may never be matched, let alone broken. Those numbers will live on for all to see for years to come; whether or not they ever get voted into the Hall.